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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, I'll show you how to create an Edge Mask. In our case, we'll be using it to protect the so-called edges, that is, the good detail inside this image. For example, I'll go ahead and turn Dust & Scratches off, it's very important to you do this if you're working along with me, it may take a moment for Photoshop to re-render the filters and you'll see that those little hairs along a forward leg comeback and we have better detail inside the face and elsewhere as well. So we need to be able to mask away the effects of these filters, so we can retrieve that good information.
So with Dust & Scratch is off you want to switch over to the Channels panel and then go ahead and grab your detail channel which is the green channel and drag it and drop it onto the little page icon at the bottom of the panel and that goes ahead and creates a copy of that channel, so we can transform it into a mask. I'll go ahead and rename this channel edge mask. And then step one is to go up to the Filter menu choose Stylize and choose Find Edges which will go ahead and turn all the edges black inside the image and leave the non-edges white.
And you can see that Photoshop has gone ahead and traced around not only the edges, but thanks to the fact that we left reduced noise turned on that effect is at least mitigated. Now we want to make the edges thicker. Anytime you want to increase the size of black inside of a mask, you go up to the Filter menu, choose Other, and choose Minimum, so the idea is maximum will increase the size of the maximum luminance level, which is white and, minimum will increase the size of the minimum luminance level which is black. Now this is a moderate resolution image and I want to preserve the slimmest edge as possible, so I'm going to take that Radius value up to 2 pixels.
Now notice when you do that you end up creating a lot of squares inside of your mask, I'll go ahead and zoom on in, and that's because you're effectively blowing up pixels inside the image. To round off those squares go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise, and choose Median, which is Dust & Scratches without the threshold setting. So I'll go ahead and choose Median, and you want to match your minimum value. So I've applied a Radius of two pixels with minimum, now I will follow up with Radius of two pixels for median, and that goes ahead and turns all those squares into circles and diamonds, so we get some rounded contouring.
I'll go ahead and click OK to accept that change. Now you want to soften the edges and you do so by going to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and choosing Gaussian Blur and then you want the set the Radius value to half of what you've been using so far. So because we applied a Radius of two with minimum and median, we need a radius of half that which is one pixel for Gaussian Blur, then click OK in order to accept that change. All right, that finishes off the edge mask, believe it or not, and now what you want to do is turn it into a filter mask.
So press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on edge mask in order to load it as a selection outline, then switch back to the RGB composite image, switch back to layers. I am going to press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H on a Mac to hide my marching ants, and then I am going to turn Dust & Scratches back on. Again, you're going to see a progress bar while Photoshop renders out that filter. Next, you want to delete the existing filter mask by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Q or Cmd+Opt+Q on a Mac, and now we need to load the selection, we're not seeing it, but it's still there, as a filter mask by again right-clicking on Smart Filters and this time you choose Add Filter Mask.
And I want you to keep an eye on the butterfly here in the upper left corner of the Image window. As soon as I choose Add Filter Mask, those edges come back throughout the image and we're also seeing the hairs once again. So if I was to Shift+Click on that Filter mask to turn it off, then you would see the hairs on that forward leg go away, and then if I Shift+Click again to turn the filter mask back on, all those wonderful fine details come back. So thanks to the edge mask, we preserved the detail, we continue to get rid of the noise however inside of the image, and you can see that by turning off the eyeball in front of Smart Filters.
There is our original noise vividly portrayed, and if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac again in order to reapply the Smart Filters, you can see that the noise is dramatically reduced. And now that we have an edge mask, I am free to play around with my filter settings if I like. So in my case, I am going to double-click on Dust & Scratches in order to bring up the Dust & Scratches dialog box. It may take a moment for Photoshop to process things, and I am going to tab to the threshold value, and I'm going to take it down to the six levels this time instead of 20 and then I'll click OK in order to apply that change.
And that makes an even bigger difference while having very little effect on those edge details, and that's how you go about creating and employing an edge mask here in Photoshop.
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